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The Telegraph November 2018

The Telegraph November 2018

How a Venice apartment stay turned me from tourist to insider
by Fiona Duncan

Last year I rented an apartment in Venice for the first time, rather than stay in a hotel. It was a revelation: after a lifetime of flirting with this extraordinary city, I felt that I had become, at least for a short time, something of a Venetian… now it was proper love.

I already knew Venice well. Twenty years ago I spent many weeks researching and writing a guide to its hotels and I have returned often since, but it was apartment living that made me feel like an insider, not a mere spectator.

I took an apartment again this year. As I stood among the congregation in St George’s Anglican Church on Armistice Day, under stained glass windows dedicated to fellow travellers John Ruskin and Robert Browning, I knew that a spell here, one that included shopping at the market, cooking in my own kitchen and pausing en route for a coffee in my local bar, would have to become a regular fixture, part of my life.


And now, thanks to Views on Venice, the short time that I’m there can include immersive experiences normally only available to guests of top hotels: Filippo Gaggia, Venetian owner of this long-established apartment company, has created a comprehensive concierge service for his clients in order to distinguish his offering from the plethora of rival accommodation providers. Want a private chef or butler? Would you like Italian conversation lessons with a local? Have a cookery lesson, take a boat tour of the lagoon or visit the Prosecco hills on the mainland?

Frankly, the comprehensive Views on Venice guide to the city found in each apartment is worth the rent alone: compiled by an English resident, it’s a feast of inside tips for eating, shopping and sightseeing and there’s an amusing photographic quiz at the end to test your knowledge once you’ve tramped the city discovering all the hidden gems it reveals.
I couldn’t resist learning more about Venetian cookery, starting with a trip to the Rialto market with delightful chefs Marta and Anna to choose and buy the fish and vegetables. Forget starched aprons, workstations and measuring jugs... this lesson took place in the kitchen of my own three-bedroom apartment and everyone piled in, helping with the preparation and washing-up and eating and drinking copiously as we went along.

The Telegraph November 2018

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